After a thrilling first season of 2019, NA Contenders returns on June 17 for the West and June 19 for the East. A lot has changed since Season 1. NA Juggernaut and Atlantic Showdown champion Fusion University has moved to Korea, Mayhem Academy and NRG Esports no longer exist (at least as they previously did) and a new wave of Trials teams now enter the mix. Amidst all of the shuffle, here’s how NA Contenders Season 2 looks like it may shake out.
1. Team Envy (1st in West)
It’s hard to go with anyone else except Team Envy for the top spot. Last season, Envy went a perfect 7-0 during the regular season and swept through the playoffs in the West. After that, they went to the Atlantic Showdown and toppled British Hurricane and Angry Titans, only losing twice to the eventual champs, Fusion University. Needless to say, Envy is glad they’ve made their way over to Korea.
After losing Trill to their OWL-parent team, the Dallas Fuel, Envy added Lukas “LullSiSH” Wiklund from Angry Titans to fill the Aussies shoes. Besides losing Trill and controversially letting go of Danish DPS Mads “Fischer” Jehg back in April, Envy looks primed and ready to take this season of NA Contenders as the outright favorites.
2. ATL Academy (1st in East)
Atlanta is a team that has lived in the shadow of the top NA teams for long enough. Now it’s their time to shine. Recently, ATL Academy has let go of flex support player, Troy “berd” Grady, and former Assistant coach, Ilias T. “iLka” Kaskanetas, who has moved to Angry Titans. While they have not filled the coaching void yet, they have brought in Atlanta Reign flex support, Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger, as a two-way player to replace berd.
With these minor shuffles, it shouldn’t take ATL too long to synergize and get things going. In last season’s playoffs, they ended up losing to Team Envy in the finals, 4-1. This year, expect to see these two teams competing for that spot in the finals once again.
3. Gladiators Legion (2nd in East)
The Legion have been busy tanking up in the offseason and look much better for it coming into 2019 Season 2. They picked up Emil “eMIL” Sandgren from Angry Titans, who are steadily becoming the Second Wind of EU, and Ji-won “Stand1” Seo who had filled in for Team Envy in the Atlantic Showdown and played with NRG Esports before then.
This team will likely take some time to get things rolling, especially with there being two great main tanks that they will have to delineate playing time to. Otherwise, behind former Second Wind coach Thomas “maid” Mok, the Legion should contend with anyone this season.
4. Revival (2nd in West)
Mayhem Acad- I mean, Revival, are looking stacked in terms of talent and previous competitive experience. They are, however, without two pieces of that core in Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell and Johannes “Shax” Nielsen, who are now both with the Los Angeles Valiant.
This will likely be a team that fans can expect to surge late in the season. Their first two games against Second Wind and XL2 may look a bit shaky as they develop synergy and learn how to play together. After that, expect a, well, Revival.
5. Chicken Contendies (3rd in East)
The Contendies have been busy in the offseason as well, bringing in several new players who look to help them improve on a very average previous season. This team, however, also lost their Head Coach, Pablo “Darkzero” Ramos Alonso, as well as several other players in the rebuild.
Overall, several have remarked that this team looks like it could be a dark horse with even more moves seemingly on the way based on the players/staff Twitter accounts. This coming news and their new players make the Contendies an exciting team to watch but certainly one that has some tough competition towards the top of the standings.
6. Second Wind (3rd in West)
As usual, Second Wind is coming into this season with an array of players that many have not heard of before. This makes them very difficult to tank, as usual, considering they went 5-2 in the previous season amidst being poached as they usually are.
The one thing fans can count on with this team is their design department. It’s safe to say that they remain undefeated in this department.
— Second Wind (@SecondWindGG) June 11, 2019
7. Meta Skyfoxes (4th in East)
This team was going to be coming into the season higher on this list until some very troubling news came out concerning one of their players and an alleged sexual assault case. It’s hard to imagine this will not affect the team, who otherwise looked strong coming in. It has been rumored that they are running a very specific Sombra-focused strategy, which has led them to look strong in scrims.
The incident mentioned above will, hopefully, get appropriately taken care of and the rest of the players on the team can focus on having a good season.
8. XL2 Academy (4th in West)
The Game Haus’s recent report that Rick “GiG” Salazar was moving to XL2 was confirmed in their recent roster announcement. This also included several other notable players like Casey “buds” McIlwaine and Kai “KSP” Collins. This re-tooled roster will need time to come together and begin playing to their full potential. Once they do, they should be able to contend with the top half of the league, however, this may take a few weeks to really get going. Keep an eye out for XL2 to make a big late-season playoff run.
9. Montreal Rebellion (5th in West)
Of any team in NA Contenders, Montreal Rebellion has gone through some of the biggest changes in the past month. Here are all of the changes they’ve made, according to Liquipedia:
Even with all of this, they still have a pretty impressive lineup as it stands. Andreas “Logix” Berghmans and Nikolai “Naga” Dereli are among the most veteran and trusted DPS cores in the league and their American support line of Joshua “Tensa” Small and Anthony “Goliath” Pietro is equally as impressive. This team had an up and down previous season, expect more of them this year if they can congeal when it matters.
10. Uprising Academy (5th in East)
The best of those coming up through Trials, Uprising Academy are looking to make amends of their rough last season. Before going 7-0 in Trials, UA had a lot of personnel changes that have seemed to improve their play. The only question will be how this new roster does against tougher competition in Contenders.
They certainly have the talent to pull it off but until they face up against some tougher talent, 10th seems like a fair starting point. Big fan, by the way.
Congratulations to the teams who conquered NA Trials to claim their spots in @owpathtopro Contenders! 🎉@TriumphGamingGG @TeapartyOW @WaveCheckOW@UprisingAcad@CenterofBermuda @Phase2OW pic.twitter.com/9NuCcfVVVg
— Elo Hell Esports (@EloHellEsports) June 12, 2019
11. Triumph (6th in West)
If their season depended on branding, Triumph would be far and away at the top of the standings. Even still, the team that went 5-2 in Trials has some real talent on the roster. Players like Jørgen “Decod” Myrlund have been in and around the game for a while and can provide the veteran leadership that this team needs.
Overall, things may be tough for them as the competition ramps up in Contenders but they’re definitely one of the few Trials survivors that could make a real run at a winning season.
12. Tea Party (7th in West)
For their average run through Trials, Tea Party is a team that has had little to no roster moves since their inception. While it seems like this team will struggle in Contenders, look for them to steal some games early with their already-established synergy.
If they keep making places like these, they’ll quickly transcend 12th place.
— Elo Hell Esports (@EloHellEsports) June 11, 2019
13. Square One (6th in East)
Of all the non-Trials teams, Square One finds itself the lowest in the rankings. After finishing at 4-3 last season, the team has gone through some of the usual changes but have reportedly looked weak in scrims leading up to the season. Because of these reports and some of the players that have left the team, Square One finds themselves lower than they otherwise might be. Expect former Second Generation coach, Gints “GGMentality” Grasis, to continue improving this team as the season goes on.
14. Phase 2 (7th in East)
Although Phase 2 has reportedly been looking better than expected in their preseason scrims, they seem to have lost several key cogs to the roster. Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa has moved to Revival and Alex “Ajax” Jackson has recently announced that he was stepping away from the team. These two were some of the cores of this roster, so it will be interesting to see how they are replaced.
Until they release their full roster, it’s hard to know much else at this point.
15. Bermuda (8th in East)
Bermuda is one of two teams coming out of Trials with a losing record, although they did manage to beat Phase 2 and Tea Party during Trials. This team also just lost Christian “Ojee” Han to XL2 Academy. With no replacement announced yet, it’s hard to say more about this team’s chances next season. Keep an eye out for veteran players Brent “Pizzademon” Lanoix and Zechariah “Guru” Koppes to step up and lead the team.
16. Wave Check (8th in West)
This may be a tough season for Wave Check. This team just managed to sneak into Contenders with a 2-5 record and -5 map differential. Last Minute, the team they edged out, ended at 2-5 with a -6 map differential.
Wave Check is also coming off of a tough offseason, losing several players moving on to new opportunities, including Keldon “Boostio” Pupello to Meta Skyfoxes. If asked whether Wave Check is going to #DriporDrown, it may be safe to go with the latter.
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Featured Image Courtesy of @pathtopro
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